Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Mystical World Of Dam Madar Malangs Of India



I first met the black robed long haired ,, dread headed monks Malangs in 2005 the first visit of my life to Ajmer Sharif.. I got fascinated into the world of Sufism as a photographer I wanted to shoot this unusual tapestry of a different world I began by documenting the Rifai Silsila in Mumbai and than met Peersab Fakhru Miya Hujra no 6 in Mumbai 2004 ,he invited me to Ajmer and was my host I am indebted to him and his sons who have continued the tradition of giving me shelter under their the comfort of their roof I may have come as a guest but subsequent visits I am now part of this extended family ,,,
When I came to Ajmer I hardly knew anything about Malangs .. I thought they were same little different from body piercing Rifais ,, I shot the Rifais , I shot the transgender or hijras and I shot the beggars as my documentary ,
In 2011 a friend wanted to become a Malang and he walked with Malangs every year from Delhi to Ajmer Sharif ,, he knew more Malangs than me , but he insisted I help him and so I introduced him to Syed Masoomi Baba .and perhaps I thought he was joking with me when he said you make him a Malang..I looked at him amazed ,,but than I understood the underlying metaphor I accepted his offer became a Malang and after that my friend became a Malang and we both become Peer Bhais .. one white man and the other a dusky urban brown skinned man.. I went to Makanpur because of him,.
And I still go to Ajmer I still shoot the Rifais Malangs , the transgender hijras and I still shoot the beggars ,, but than I also go to Pushkar my cosmic connection with Lord Brahma and to buy daggers to cut my head for Moharam from this Hindu town from my friend Raj Telik .
I dont meet the Malangs in Mumbai,, so I only see them once a year , but I speak to Syed Rafiq Baba in the picture .. we keep in touch he keeps enticing me of the different places calls me but I am spiritually enchained to Mumbai.. with badly broken wings.
And there is a German connection too Dorothea Reicker who has saved many a Malang life by giving them medical aid , mostly of the Malangs suffer from chest ailment TB and she helped them and Peersab Syed Masoomi as he could not pronounce her name baptized her as Miriam .. the Healer of both the Worlds ,,
There are now many foreigners who walk with Malangs sadly I could never make the trip.. from Delhi To Ajmer on foot ,,
I miss my Malang brother he has shut himself up from me ,,
What I like about Masoomi Baba he did not impose his faith on me all he said you are a Maulaiee ,,, from the beginning to the end ,, you got the gift of Ali from your Mothers womb others have to search for it or earn it ..
Shah-E-Mardaan, Shair-E-Yazdaan,
Qoowwat-E-Parwardigaar,
La Fata illa Ali,
La Saif illa Zulfiqaar
Ali imaam-e-manasto manam Ghulaam-e-Ali
hazaar jaan-e-giraamii fidaa-e-naam-e-Ali
Her Qalb Ali, Jism Ali, Jaan Ali Hai
Mujh BeSar-O-Samaan Ka Samaan Ali Hai
Imaan Ka Matlaash E Ye Imaan Keh Doon
Iman To Yeh Hai Mera Imaan Ali Hai
Ali Maula, Maula Ali Maula
Maula Ali Maula, Maula Ali Maula
man kunto maulaa
fa haaza Aliun maulaa
To whom I am the master
Ali is the master.

Documenting The Madariyya Order Of Dam Madar Malangs





My greatest regret is I just recently started shooting videos , and I did not shoot the Malangs on video at Makanpur their greatest event of their Holy Saint Zinda Shah Madar ,, I was in Makanpur UP near Kannauj for the 896 Urus ,,and each year after that I thought I would go back some work commitment stopped me from going.

Shooting the Malangs at Ajmer and shooting the Malangs at Makanpur is very different at Ajmer they are in a small group paying tribute to Kwajah Garib Nawaz ..it is not their home territory ,, Makanpur is the essence and soul of their Madariyya Order .. and the rituals will blow you away , the Dhamal body piercings and many other rituals including the opening of their dreads on the main Urus day  and the huge tumultuous crowds from all over India .. Malangs from W Bengal Malangs from Gulbarga ..and there is no place to stay  at this Holy Site , we used to use the field for our toilet ,,and luckily we had a room we shared with a dozen pilgrim it was frickin chaotic but worth it .. Syed Masoomi Baba head of the Asqan Madari Order is highly respected revered and is a huge personality and being his Murid I hardly had any problem.. I was barefeet and at times my feet would get completely scorched with the heat of the earth..

This is one place I would like to visit one more time.


The Madariyya are members of a Sufi order (tariqa) popular in North India, especially in Uttar Pradesh, the Mewat region, Bihar and Bengal, as well as in Nepal and Bangladesh. Known for its syncretic aspects, lack of emphasis on external religious practice and focus on internal dhikr, it was initiated by the Sufi saint 'Sayed Badiuddin Zinda Shah Madar' (d. 1434 CE), called "Qutb-ul-Madar", and is centered on his shrine (dargah) at Makanpur, Kanpur district, Uttar Pradesh.

Originating from the Tayfuriya order, as his Pir, spiritual teacher was Bayazid Tayfur al-Bistami, Madariya reached its zenith in the late Mughal period between 15th to 17th century, and gave rise to new orders as Madar's disciples spread through the northern plains of India, into Bengal. As with most Sufi orders, its name Madariya has been created by adding a Nisba to the name of its founder Madar, leading to Madariya, sometimes spelled as Madariyya, though it is also referred as Tabaqatiya.[1][2][3][4][5]

Dargah[edit]
The Dargah, or the tomb of Badiuddin Zinda Shah Madar, is located at Makanpur, near Kanpur city, in Uttar Pradesh state, India. It is visited by thousands of visitors every month and especially during the annual Urs celebrations.[6]

The Dread Head Dam Madar Malangs of Ajmer




Peer Sayed Masoom Ali Shah Baba Malang Madari Asqan


The Dam Madar Malangs Of India


Documenting The Dam Madar Malangs Of India


Without A Teacher Your Like A Boat Without Oars In Mid Sea


I Became A Malang To Document The Mystical World Of Dam Madar Malangs


The Mystical World Of Dam Madar Malangs Of India


Documenting The Mystical World Of Dam Madar Malangs of India


The Mystical World Of Dam Madar Malangs


The Mystical World Of Dam Madar Malangs




Just sitting here at Char Yar Masjid and this is a protected graveyard too , where the Malangs hold court , this is the Asthana of Syed Masoomi Baba Aqsan Madari... he meets his disciples his followers and other Islamic and Sufi scholars , they have discussions , sometimes recitation of hymns in praise of Khwajah Garib Nawaz ..
Malangs from all over India come to the Urus Of Khwajah Garib Nawab ..and than they come to pay respects to Masoomi Baba ..
Poor people come for advise spiritual help and whoever comes is fed offered tea ,,,the hospitality of the Malangs is nothing but an extension of the great Hospitality of the Greatest Saint Hazrat Moinuddin Chishty Al Sabri Saint of the Poor and the Homeless.
I taught both Masoomi Baba and Rafiq Baba to take pictures on the DSLR and they were like two kids playing with a new toy ,, and their reasoning is very appropriate they say you shoot all of us we must shoot you too,, I than keep my mouth zipped ,, lol

Dam Madar Malang Liaqat Ali Baba Masoomi




Liaqat Ali Baba respectfully calls me Peer Bhai .. as we are both Murids of Syed Masoomi Baba Aqsan Madari..

Liaqat Ali Baba is the guy who does all the organizing , getting meals arranged and takes care of the visitors that come to meet Syed Masoomi Baba ,, at Makanpur in 2013 he allowed us to stay in his room.. during the 896 Urus of Hazrat Zinda Shah Madar .

We have a great equation , knowing that I am a diabetic he sees that I get special tea without sugar .. if there is rice on the menu he will keep chapaties and vegetables aside for me ,,and he know that Masoomi Baba and Rafiq Baba like me a lot.

There are some wild photographer hating Malangs that Liaqat Ali Baba keeps away from me though he knows I can be more crazy than the crazy malangs ,,,most of the Malangs from rural areas have this notion that people shoot them to make money and I cant change this fucked notion among the Naga Sadhus too.


The Mystical World Of Dam Madar Malangs



Once a year I get to shoot them when I go to Ajmer Sharif for the Urus .After I have settled down at the Feet of Fakhru Miya Hujra No 6 my host connected to the Sufi Chishtiya Order .. taken his blessings I than go to meet Sayed Masoom Ali Baba Aqsan Madari head of the Malang order of Aqsan.. their spiritual seat connected to Hazrat Zinda Shah Madar Makanpur close to Kannauj UP ,.. sadly the Uttar Pradesh government has done nothing for Makanpur one of the major annual pilgrimage of this Holy Saint ,, it is an oasis in a sea of fields . the pilgrims bear the sufferings hardships and come here from all over India ,,
I have been documenting the Dam Madar Malangs since 2005 and got initiated into their Order with my Belgian friend in 2011 by Masoomi Baba himself..and visited Makanpur in 2013 - 896 Urus of Zinda Shah Madar .
And I can go on shooting the malangs , its is a heady brew for my soul.. And along with the Malangs I shot the Jalali Rafaees of the Rifai Order too.. I have been documenting the Rifais for over 15 years or more ,,mostly in Mumbai and other Shrines that they visit during the Urus circuit.
Meeting the Malangs at Makanpur is an experience that never ends sadly there are no lodges hotels near the Holy Shrine ,, I was lucky to stay in a room of my Malang brother Liaqat Ali Baba ..thanks to Masoomi Babas main right hand Syed Rafiq Ali Baba ,, he is the only one in touch with me on phone ,,
Masoomi Baba is of frail health and stays at Gwalior ..Panihar ..he hardly travels unless it is a major event like Ajmer Sharif ..or other major Urus .
The pictures of the Malangs at Flickr are housed in two sets ,, ""Dam Madar Malangs'" and ""Sufism Rafaees Malangs Dargahs "".. Sufism that I have documented in India their culture , rituals and lifestyle ,,But the Sufism in India is an extension of Sunni Islam..more as a middle path without spiritual strictures or soul lashing Fatwas that we see merely used as a weapon to bully Muslim women and celebrities for a few seconds of news filling pages of our Press ..
I enjoy shooting the Malangs and lately I began shooting their videos .. they are simple people leading simple lives and most of them live in austerity ,, they do exorcism and dua tawiz.. to help possessed souls ,,
I have somehow not been able to go to Makanpur in recent years where on the Main day of the Urus ,the Malangs release their dread heads about 18 feet long holding the great bunch in their hands they do Kaif.. The Malangs are staunch followers of Imam Ali,...

“All my own perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded upon Our Lady.” » J.R.R. Tolkien


The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount,




Mount Mary Church, Bandra

The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, more commonly known as Mount Mary, is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Mumbai, India. The church is one of the most visited churches in the city located in the suburb of Bandra. Every September, the feast of St. Mary is celebrated on the Sunday following 8 September, the birthday of the Virgin Mary. This is a week long celebration known as the Bandra Fair and is visited by thousands of people.

[edit] The Church

The church stands on a hillock about 80 metres above sea level overlooking the Arabian Sea. It draws lakhs of devotees and pilgrims annually. Many faithful attest to the miraculous powers of St. Mary. During the Bandra Fair, tens of thousands visit the shrine. The shrine attracts people from all faiths who pray to the statue for thanksgiving or requesting of favours.

During the Bandra Fair, the entire area is decorated with festoons and buntings. Many pitch up stalls selling religious articles, roasted grams and sweets. Stalls sell sticky Goan sweets and wax figures of the Virgin Mary along with an assortment of candles shaped like hands, feet and various other parts of the body. The sick and suffering choose one that corresponds to their ailment and light it in Church, with the pious hope that Mother Mary will consider their appeals for help.

[edit] The statue of the Virgin Mary

Although the current church edifice is just 100 years old, the history behind the current statue of Our Lady goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to the current location and constructed a chapel. In 1700 Arab pirates interested in the gilt-lined object held in the hand disfigured the statue by cutting off the right hand.

In 1760, the church was rebuilt and the statue was substituted with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators in St. Andrew's church nearby. This statue has an interesting legend. It goes that a Koli fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. The statue was found floating in the sea between 1700 and 1760. A Jesuit Annual Letter dated to 1669 and published in the book St. Andrew's Church, Bandra (1616รข1966) supports this claim.


The Healer Our Lady Of Mount Mary Bandra


Glory Of The Mount Mary Church, Bandra



The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, more commonly known as Mount Mary Church, is a Roman Catholic Basilica located in Bandra, Mumbai. The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated here on the first Sunday after 8 September, the birthday of the Virgin Mary. The feast is followed by a week-long celebration known locally as the Bandra Fair and is visited by thousands of people.[1][2]

The Basilica[edit]
The basilica stands on a hillock, about 80 metres above sea level overlooking the Arabian Sea. It draws lakhs of devotees and pilgrims annually. Many of the faithful attest to the miraculous powers of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The shrine attracts people from all faiths who pray to Virgin Mary for expressing their gratitude or requesting favours. The church was destroyed in 1738 during a raid by the Marathas.

During the Bandra Fair, the entire area is decorated with festoons and buntings. Many pitch up stalls selling religious articles, roasted grams, snacks and sweets. Wax figures of the Virgin Mary, along with an assortment of candles shaped like hands, feet and various other parts of the body are sold at kiosks. The sick and the suffering choose a candle or wax figure that corresponds to their ailment and light it in Church, with the pious hope that Mother Mary will consider their appeals for help.


Although the current church edifice is just 100 years old, the history behind the current statue of Our Lady goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to the current location and constructed a chapel. In 1700 Arab pirates interested in the gilt-lined object held in the hand disfigured the statue by cutting off the right hand.{{fact}}

In 1760, the church was rebuilt and the statue was substituted with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators in St. Andrew's church nearby. This statue has an interesting legend. It goes that a Koli fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. The statue was found floating in the sea between 1700 and 1760. A Jesuit Annual Letter dated to 1669 and published in the book St. Andrew's Church, Bandra (1616–1966) supports this claim. The Koli Fishermen call the statue as Mot Mauli, literally meaning The Pearl Mother (Mot= Moti= pearl and Mauli= Mother). However the pervious statue is now restored and now enjoys the place of honour in the bascilica. Both Hindu and Christian Kolis visit this shrine often giving it a kind of syncretic nature.[3]
wikipedia

For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? Jesus Christ


If You Like Shooting Faces Than Go Shoot The Kumbh Mela


Women Emancipation Begs For Attention


The Holy Waters Of The Godavari ,, Kumbh Mela Nasikh


Once Upon A Time At Ramkund ,, Nasikh Kumbh Mela




If you are in a group of friends there is a lot to shoot at Ramkund  below the Press and VVIP enclosure ,,provided you dont get intimidated by the cops ,, who have this habit of treating photographers like swatting flies ,,

I shoot alone , and it is best no constrains no compulsions and being alone has its many advantages ,,you shoot what you have to do , and shoot what you were destined to shoot .

I am in Mumbai but for some reason my soul is lurking between Ramkund and Trimbakeshwar and imagine I shot Kumbh Mela in 2003 and now after 12 years it seems nothing has changed ,,

Even in 2003 I shot the Kumbh alone .. and in 2015 I was as alone as I was in 2003 ..I had a contact in Nasikh but I did not contact him..as I was here for only a few hours ,, but to really shoot Ramkund from one end to the other end you need a lot of time and patience too.

I did not know any Sadhu among the Vaishnav Akharas  at Tapovan ,,,but than the only salvation was everyone I met respected me because of my Sadhu attire ,,,necessity is the mother of invention ,,,